2 min read
09 Oct

When it comes to researching memory care facilities for your loved one, where do you start? Do you look at the large facilities with more activities? Or the smaller, family like homes? Which one will provide the highest level of care? Who can you trust to care for your loved one? These are valid questions and ones that a senior advisor at Living Well can help you answer.

It is often gut wrenching when you have to decide the time has come to help your loved one find a memory care home. It is never an easy decision for any family and it can be difficult to know when the time is right. Living Well is here to provide you with a free resource that can give you the inside details and help you decide which one will be the right fit. There are so many memory care facilities that it can be difficult to narrow them down.  The task can be overwhelming. We are here to help.

A memory care facility is one that cares for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They provide a structured and safe environment. Memory care homes improve quality of life and safety for those with dementia.

So what goes into choosing a memory care facility? 

Safety and Staff at Memory Care Facilities

As your loved ones' needs increase they will need help with almost all daily living activities. Therefore, it is best to have a very low staff to resident ratio. Memory care residents should have a 6:1 resident to caregiver ratio. They should be available 24 hours a day to help with nighttime assistance. Adult family homes are smaller and have fewer residents than the larger facilities. They usually have only 5 or 6 residents compared with the larger 28-40 bed facilities. Safety is extremely important in a memory care facility. Most places will have alarms on windows and doors so they are alerted if a resident tries to exit the building. They should be open enough for the residents to move about and walk but secure so they cannot leave without supervision. The staff should also be expertly trained to work with people who have dementia. You should also ask if each resident has an individual care plan, as needs are different for each individual. They should do a thorough assessment before moving in to understand all needs of the resident. 

Other questions to ask: 

  • Is there a nurse on staff? Or is there one that regularly visits? 
  • What is the night time staff ratio?
  • Are you able to care for residents that are aggressive or exhibit disruptive behaviors?
  • Can you care for wheelchair bound or bedridden patients?
  • How many hours of staff training are required?
  • How does the facility measure the quality of care provided residents? - -How thoroughly do they help with personal hygiene, tooth-brushing and toileting?
  • What is the staff turnover? 

Services at Memory Care Facilities

Memory Care facilities provide a safe place for your loved one but can also add a quality and consistency of life. They provide help with daily living activities (toileting, dressing, eating, showering, etc), but also may provide music therapy, art activities, activities that allow for companionship, mental stimulation and exercise. Some memory care facilities have gated walking paths or are set up in a circular layout so that the residents can walk at their leisure. 

Cost of Memory Care Facilities

Memory care facilities are the most expensive in terms of senior care living. It is because of the low staff to resident ratio and the level of care that is needed. Typically memory care costs are between $4,000-$9,000 per month. It is important to ask if there is just a flat fee or separate fees for housing and care. Also, if fees will increase as care needs increase. 

Communication and Environment  

It is important to have open communication with the staff. You should find out how they communicate with family and how often they update you on their status. It is important to locate a community that has a low staff turnover. The more experienced and well-trained staff, the better. When you tour the facility look closely at the residents who currently live there- Are they clean? Happy? Well cared for?

Other questions to ask:

  • Can they provide care for people at all stages of dementia? Or will my loved one have to move if his/her needs change?
  • Are the activities meaningful and appropriate for each individual?
  • Does the staff have experience working with dementia other than Alzheimer’s? 

Recap of How to Choose a Memory Care Facility

With so many factors and important questions to ask, our senior advisors at Living Well are more than happy to walk you through this process and help you find the perfect place for your loved one. We know all the questions to ask and have already toured and interviewed each home in the area. We accompany you on each tour to provide support to you and your loved one. Give us a call today to set up an appointment. 971-999-1838

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